Evolution of Evil (2017)

A couple looking to escape from it all goes camping off the beaten path in the Pacific Northwest. Once there, they encounter a family hell-bent on making them regret this decision.

Writer/director Kevin Forrest takes the usual lost in the woods and cannibal/evil family tropes and uses them to build a film that has potential but turns out fairly bland and predictable on the whole. There are a few surprises here and there but as a complete film it ends up feeling bland and repetitive of what the subgenre usually offers. This is made clear with the opening credit sequence that is an overhead shot of a car on a winding forest road. The shot is similar to quite a few other films and very reminiscent of the openings for Promenons-Nous Dans Les Bois (Deep in the Woods) and Wrong Turn, it looks good but feels reused. The rest of the film is a mix of shaky cam, drone shots, regular shots, and the usual people in danger tropes that go with this subgenre. The entire film feels like déjà vu and even big fans of its subgenre might not find it all that entertaining.

The cast of Evolution of Evil does what looks to be their best but given the material, most of their performances turn out on the bland side. The only performance that really works is that of Erin McGarry as Lori, the woman would be victim who fights for her life as best she can. McGarry tries her best here and elevates the film as much as she can. The rest of the cast does ok work but really nothing to write home about. Given the film and its writing and directing, these are as would and should be expected.

Evolution of Evil boasts some good shots here and there, with cinematography by Scott Ballard, but they are few enough and far enough in between with what is surrounding them being par for the subgenre course of late, drone shots, and shaky cam that they do not end up adding up to much. The aforementioned opening looks great but it’s been done before and better so it’s a bit on the redundant side. Better cinematography would have helped elevate the film and helped keep the viewer’s interest.

Evolution of Evil tries to bring something to its subgenre but it ultimately fails on most fronts offering up mostly tropes and clichés in its story, having one good performance, and having images that go from bland to generic to good-but-seen-before. The filmmaker and people behind in may have tried and had good intentions, the final products turns out more bland than interesting and more predictable than surprising. While the Pacific Northwest woods are beautiful and an interesting change from the usual generic backwoods, the location feels like an afterthought. In the end, the film is too bland for its subgenre and too easily forgettable.